Senators Reluctantly Sign Off On “Minimum” Meth Bill

Sen. Mark Norris is vowing not to let the proposal approved in committee Wednesday be watered down in subsequent amendments. (Photo: JR Mahung/WPLN)

Sen. Mark Norris is vowing not to let the proposal approved in committee Wednesday be watered down in subsequent amendments. (Photo: JR Mahung/WPLN)

State senators are weighing how tough a law they can realistically hope to pass targeting meth.  They want to make it harder to get the drug’s key ingredient—the cold medicine pseudoephedrine.

The Senate has looked at all kinds of ways to limit pseudoephedrine—some a good bit more restrictive than the governor’s.  In a meeting of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, Sen. Randy McNally signed off on the Haslam administration’s proposal only reluctantly, saying he wished it could be tougher:

“This is about the bottom threshold that I’m willing to go.  It is an improvement, but it’s not what some states have done such as Oregon and Mississippi.”

Those states have simply required prescriptions.

House Counterpart

Senators are concerned because efforts to drastically cut pseudoephedrine sales have struggled to gain traction in the House.  Some headway came this week, when a somewhat tougher  bill was allowed to pass out of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, but that version was still less restrictive than Gov. Haslam’s initial proposal.

Part of the tension stems from the pharmaceutical lobby, which argues lawmakers shouldn’t make their products less available, saying to do so effectively punishes law-abiding allergy sufferers for the misdeeds of meth dealers.

In the House meeting, Rep. David Hawk was essentially asked to guarantee he wouldn’t let the bill be made more restrictive by subsequent amendments later in the legislative process.  Hawk refused, effectively leaving open the possibility of a tougher rule.

Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.